Badger Museum of Defense
What is it?
The Badger Museum of Defense Ammunition
Production is an idea, a dream, there are no plans
beyond what you will see here. This dream is of a museum that
will take the visitor on a journey in time starting with the
geology of the land where Badger Army Ammunition Plant is located
to the present. Along the way the visitor will be treated to
multiple interconnected stories of:
- The geology of this land.
- Towering mountains taller than the
- The mile high glacier that stopped
where 1942 would see the construction of an Army
Ammunition Plant to support solders fighting wars
in Europe and the South Pacific.
- Native Americans who lived on this land
the "white man" called the "Sauk
- Settlers, mostly from Germany,
Switzerland, and New England ("Yankees") who
came to a new land to forge new lives.
- How, in 1942, the US Army came and
purchased 10,000 acres of land to build the world's
largest ammunition propellant manufacturing plant.
- The more than 23,000 men and women who
worked in that ammo plant over its 60+ year history to
produce the ammunition needed by our solders and allies
in three wars.
- World War II, "surely the war
that would end all wars"
- Korean War
- Vietnam War
- Other ammunition plants
- Where TNT was produced and loaded
into projectiles fired by cannons and battle
- Where the propellant from Badger
Army Ammunition Plant and sister plants was
loaded into the ammunition used by the solders.
- Environmental awareness:
- That showed us that the things we
routinely disposed of on/in the ground at Badger
Army Ammo Plant, ( as in other industries,
agriculture, and our homes) were not safely put
away, but in fact were polluting the land and our
- The efforts to clean-up those
polluted sites to reduce to a safe level or
eliminate the resulting pollution of our drinking
- The closure of Badger Army Ammunition
- The collection and compiling of these
Why build such a museum?
As far as we know a museum of this type does
not exist and is not planned any where else in the country. The
central motivation for this museum is the ammunition
- We have museums of weaponry and
transportation, stories of "Rosie the Riveter"
building ships, aircraft, weapons, etc.
- We have museums of Native American
- We have museums of the settlers' lives.
- We have museums of agriculture.
- We have museums of natural history.
- We do not have a museum of ammunition
production. "Rosie the Riveter", her family,
and friends also manufactured the ammunition needed by
our solders risking their lives in foreign lands.
- We do not have a museum of the ammunition
manufacturing process. Today we manufacture these
products by remote control instead of having the
operators in the room next to the equipment producing the
product that could kill them if something went seriously
- We do not have a museum that brings all of
these stories together in one interconnected big story. A
museum that allows and encourages the visitor to see the
individual stories and the connections that tie them
together to make the big story. Like being able to see,
not only the "trees of the forest", but also to
see "the forest". This museum is designed to do
In addition to the manufacturing processes, the
story we are telling also includes:
- The people who operated the equipment used
in those processes;
- Who were they?
- Where did they come from?
- Where did they live?
- The farmers who lived on the land and had
to leave it to make room for the ammo plant;
- The settlers (pioneers) who opened up the
- The Native Americans who lived on the land
before the settlers came;
- The land,
- This land where these people lived
and made their living.
- This land that saw a giant glacier
- This land where that glacier
stopped and left its booty of gravel and sand.
The story of defense ammunition production is
not one story, but many stories of people, machines and places
all inseparably interconnected to each other and to us today and
those who will follow us tomorrow.
How will the Museum tell this giant
The museum will be a giant building or several
buildings joined together to look and function as one building.
This building will have display areas or rooms for each major
historic subject. These displays will use photographs, drawings,
video tapes, audio tapes, written documents, machinery and people
to tell their stories.
Come with us as we take a tour through the
- When visitors to our museum leave the
parking area the first thing they will see is the two
tanks presently in front of the Administration building,
set up the same way. Behind the tanks will be the flag
pole, flying our nation's flag, and the monument to the
fifty year service of Badger Army Ammunition Plant. Next
will be outdoor Native American and Settler display
areas. Included in this area will be flower beds of
native prairie flowers and domestic flowers removed from
farmsteads in the plant area.
- Visitors will enter the museum through a
Clock Alley and Search Booth area the same as plant
workers did during plant operations. There will be two
Search Booths with mannequins dressed as male and female
guards checking a male and female employee for items they
cannot bring into the plant. Items such as smoking
materials, any spark or flame producing device, alcoholic
- Upon exiting the search booth area the
visitor will enter the main mall of the museum where
there will be an information desk with a museum staff
person there to answer questions and provide assistance
- The Main Mall will be an atrium style
building, two stories tall with a mezzanine on each side,
and will run the full length of the museum. The main
floor will have weapons display areas for World War II,
Korean War, and Vietnam War and openings to the main
museum buildings on each side. The mezzanine will give
the visitor an overhead view of the displays and provide
additional related display area.
- To the left of the Main Mall will be:
- Canteen area with an outdoor patio
- Display area for the natural
history of this area
- Display of the Native American
- Display of the settlers and those
who where farming this land when the Army came to
buy the land, and the land acquisition process.
- Display of production of the Acid
used in the propellant manufacture.
- Display of production of the
Nitrocotton/Nitrocellulose that is the base
component of propellants manufactured at Badger.
- Display of production of the
Smokeless propellant used in small size weapons
up to the 16" guns on the Battle Ships like
- To the right of the Main Mall will be :
- Display of Nitroglycerine
production. The second component of some of the
propellants manufactured at Badger.
- Display of production of the
Rocket propellant used for ground and aircraft
- Display of production of the Pall
PowderŪ propellant used in Vietnam.
- Display of production of the TNT
used in the explosive projectiles and bombs.
- Display of Ammunition loading
where the propellant and other components were
brought together to produce the ammunition used
by our soldiers.
- A shop area where equipment is
prepared for display and repaired.
- An Archive area for the storage
and preservation of historic documents
- Research area where students and
historians can research our archives
- A theater were films and video
programs can be presented.
- Museum offices.
If you have questions about this dream or
perhaps you would like to be apart of it, dream with us, share in
the excitement and, yes, the disappointments you can contact us at
our e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org or by
Badger History Group,
Badger Army Ammunition Plant,
1 Badger Rd.,
Baraboo, WI 53913